Sucking Face

Sometimes I have to work. I write stuff for people. And when I do, I wish I had an office - one away from home - to do it in.

I know, I know, I'm sure "the grass is always greener" and all that. I remember that when I did work in an office, what I wanted most was to be home with my baby (at the time, only Colin). But it's super-difficult to feel professional when you're being constantly hounded by questions and requests, and have to say things like, "Keep your penis off the table!" and "Get that garbage can lid off your brother's head!" (Yes, those exact words actually came out of my mouth yesterday.) I shut myself into a bedroom to conduct phone interviews with clients, while hearing crashes, thumps, and wails beyond the closed door - despite my best efforts to threaten and/or bribe the boys to be good and stay quiet.

And all this time, there's still laundry. And dishes. And diapers. And clutter. Piling up and up and up while I try to prioritize.

All the above is especially difficult with the addition of a perpetually-hungry four month old baby. For a few select parts of the day, Coby is content to sit beside my desk in his little bouncy-seat, cooing and gurgling. However. When he decides he's hungry, he's hungry NOW ... and until he's fed, he lets you hear it in a very loud and persistent manner.

So anyway, yesterday I'm sitting here typing away - finally in a "groove" after seven hundred interruptions - and Coby decides to fuss. I try to keep typing while jiggling his seat with my foot, but it doesn't help. So I pick him up. As hard as it is to type properly with a baby in your lap, I'm thinking that the mere action of being held would be enough to keep him quiet.

But no.

So I shifted him to my shoulder, still wailing. And that's when he latched onto my cheek and started sucking away ... QUIETLY.

So yeah, I let him. I know how ridiculous I must have looked, but I sat there typing with my baby latched onto my face. Hey, it allowed me to finish a few paragraphs.

Eventually, he realized that nothing was gonna come out of that cheek, and stopped sucking. And to my surprise, when he pulled away, the spot on my cheek was a little sore. So I touched it ... and it was a little raised. WTF? So I went into the bathroom to look in the mirror, and lo and behold ...

An effing face hickey. A hickey ... on my face.

Luckily, the brightness subsided after a while and now I'm just left with a little pink patch. But still. I'm not into hickeys, least of all in places where people can see them.

Guess it's a good thing I rarely leave the house ... 

No More Weight-ing Around!

Okay. This is getting ridiculous. Ah, who am I kidding: it's been ridiculous - for far too long now. I could be referring to my hair (my split ends have split ends) or my unwaxed eyebrows (they're like caterpillars mating on my forehead) or my house (I don't have dust bunnies any more, I have dust ... yaks). But no. I'm referring to my diet. And "diet" doesn't even seem like a good word for it, since that implies something semi-healthy, and my major food groups lately are fat, sugar, and salt.

And more sugar.

Like, the amount in, say, a batch of cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I mean, that's totally hypothetical.

( ... Or not.)

Point is, after Colin it didn't take me long to lose 80 pounds. After Cameron, I lost 90 pounds ... in six short months! But the fat I piled on during my pregnancy with Coby is still hanging around (literally - ugh) even though he's four months old, and my eating habits are only making things worse. I need to be shedding the weight of, like, a fourth-grader - yet here I sit, stuffing my face with utter crap, lookin' like big-booty-Judy.

I used to be smokin' hot, y'all. All sexy and stuff. There was a time in my early twenties when I got up every morning, ran (ran!) two miles with my dog, and did an hour of Tae-Bo five to seven days a week. And looked forward to it all. And was rewarded with muscle tone and a nice ass, not to mention loads of lovely confidence.

But that was before kids. These days, when I run? It's to stop a spill, or to catch Cameron before he splashes in the toilet. Now I fix grilled cheese sandwiches or something for lunch and when they eat two bites and proclaim themselves finished, who eats the leftovers? Me. I mean, you know, all those starving kids in third-world countries ...


I have a wedding to go to at the end of July. The very important wedding of a very good friend. I can't be lookin' all fat and schlumpy. Not only that, but I may have volunteered for a sixty-mile breast cancer walk in October (more on that later!). So you see? I have very important reasons for getting these extra pounds off.

That and I'm tired of my ass, y'know, moving independently of the rest of my body. Like, I can stand here and jiggle and even when I stop moving, my butt keeps on jiggling. Like Jell-O. It didn't always do that, and I don't want it to any more.

So I'm taking baby steps to get rid of this baby weight. First things first, start exercising again, because I was doing AWESOME there for a while and then totally fell off the wagon. (Hard. Like ooomph, right onto my face.) Second thing, start eating less - and stop snacking mindlessly while I do other stuff.

Anybody wanna join me? I need inspiration!

Or maybe just somebody to smack me upside my head with a thin picture of myself ... 

I'm Goin' Granny

I have been traumatized, y'all. TRAU-MA-TIZED. I was all up in the mirror yesterday, trying to figure out what to do with the massive frizzy nightmare atop my head (also known as "hair"), when WHAM. There amid the sea of brunette was one very noticeable, light-colored interloper. Just a blonde highlight? I thought hopefully.

But when I yanked it out ... hello, Grandma! It was straight-up gray, nowhere near the platinum highlight I'd prayed it would be. I desperately held it up to the black shower curtain, a black towel, the black bath mat (and no, I don't live in some goth world - my bathroom is black and cream) - but every dark surface only served to illuminate the fact that, yes, it was a horrible gray. It was, like, uber-gray even. Like, really REALLY gray and totally coarse. Real live old lady-hair. See for yourself!

It's not my first. It's actually my second. But I think the last one I found was, like, almost two years ago. And at the time, I tricked myself into thinking it was some sort of fluke: like just some hair that grew weird in its follicle. You know, like a defective one? Now, though, I have to realize that this gray hair isn't a fluke, but a little glimpse of the inevitable condition of my entire head. My hair's hard enough to manage now - what am I going to do when my whole head is like the texture of pubes, only a little straighter?

I'm so in for it.

For now: anybody wanna recommend a good hair dye?

The Haunted Aquarium of DEATH

I swear, it must be a miracle that my kids and four-legged pets haven't kicked the bucket under my care. Because apparently, I'm not all that great at taking care of stuff: I can't even keep a fish alive. This morning when I woke up, our last shubunkin goldfish was belly-up at the top of the tank. The second one in three days. Ugh.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm not the guilty party. I mean, my houseplants are thriving, so you'd think if I were that negligent I'd have killed them off too. Right? The thing is, I believe our fish tank to be ... *cue scary music* ... haunted.

Why do I say that? Because every. single. fish we put in there ends up dead within two weeks, despite our best efforts.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that we've probably had fifty fish in our tank since we bought it a couple years ago. All different types. At first I thought maybe we were choosing fish that were too high-maintenance, so we switched to hardier goldfish - but now, like thirty-plus "hardy" goldfish later, I'm fairly certain it has something to do with the tank.

And that really pisses me off, because I do everything I can to ensure that it's sparkly-clean, and that the environment has the proper levels of everything. Between every batch of ill-fated fish, I empty the water, scrub down the tank, change the filter, and clean the gravel and plants (with a special toothbrush, y'all!). I never use cleaners, only fresh water. I refill the tank, add stuff to make tap water safe, add stuff to start the cycle of beneficial bacteria, and wait for days until the aforementioned bacteria has had time to colonize or whatever the hell it does. Every time, I re-research how to set up a tank properly, and do it to the letter. The fish are never overcrowded. And it's not like I forget to feed them.

So the only answer? Paranormal activity of the aquatic kind. It has to be, like, the fish version of The Grudge where the ghosts kill people. Although in this case, it's some goldfishy ghost peeping openmouthed with its sunken eye sockets from behind a plant or something, and the new fish just can't take it and they, like, have little tiny heart attacks. Or something.

Or not.

I just don't remember it being this hard when I got my first fish tank, three thousand years ago in the '80s. I seriously think my mom just filled the tank with tap water and plopped the goldfish in and that was it - and those things actually outgrew the tank!

So what's the fatal flaw? Is it something I'm doing wrong, or is my tank cursed horror-movie-style?

It's (Kinda) Good to be Home

Home is where the heart is. And by "heart" I mean an overflowing litter box and a dead fish. But hey, at least we all made it back alive and (relatively) unscathed.

As you know if you've read the last post, we traveled four hours away to celebrate Cameron's birthday with our families, and our intended three-day "vacation" turned into a five-day ordeal when Curtis got sick. His tonsils were infected and abscessed, and his throat swelled to the point that he could hardly breathe. So rather than relaxing and hanging out, as was the plan, he ended up chillin' in the hospital for two lovely days. It sucked that he had to be there, but I think he enjoyed the 24-hour room service and free loaner laptop. (And the colorful roommate whose wife had no problem telling anyone within earshot that her husband had surgery to remove a growth from his testicles.)

And I? Ended up wrangling all three of the boys. I'm not gonna say I did it all by my lonesome, because we did have family around (thank goodness) ... but I was still the primary caregiver much of the time, and it was much more difficult than it is when Curtis is around to co-parent. I seriously have not a.) gone to bed before midnight or b.) slept more than an hour at a time for the last four nights, and exhaustion has overtaken me in a major way.

Too bad I can't fall into bed and sleep for a couple of days. I've got suitcases to unpack, laundry to do, kids to chase after, and a house to return to normal order. Not to mention a daunting queue of freelance writing jobs. I'm definitely thankful in spite of it all - it could be so much worse - but I sure wish there were no deadlines (or piles of dirty clothes) looming.

But there are. So.

First order of business? Order some Chinese food, because I'm too lazy tired to cook. And then try to clean up a little bit while we're waiting for its delivery. Maybe I'll light a lovely scented candle, because Colin proclaimed that the house smelled like "green beans and chicken nuggets and throw-up" (mmm) when we came in.

Probably that overflowing litter box.

I can't wait until the kids are old enough to scoop it themselves.

The Hospital Hootenanny

Fun: traveling four hours from home to spend Cameron's 2nd birthday with our families.

Not fun: Curtis being hospitalized on the day we were supposed to come home.

I had it all planned out. I was gonna come home and post a sweet photo montage in honor of my little man's birthday. What I wasn't counting on? My poor (and usually healthy as a horse) husband VERY suddenly developing a 104-degree fever and abcessed tonsils, and subsequently being admitted to the hospital. So here I sit staring at the screen of my iPhone through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes, trying to peck out a blog-post-by-text. I just wanted to let you guys know what was up so you wouldn't miss me TOO much ... and so that you can do us a solid and start sending prayers and good thoughts our way.

Catch you when my life normalizes a bit, friends and neighbors! :)

Cleavage? Clever!

Boobs. Breastuses. Ta-tas. Whatever you prefer to call 'em, I've never thought too much of mine. Normally they're unimpressively small and have a space between them the size of Kenya (read: no cleavage. EVER. No matter how much duct tape I use  wadded socks I stuff  money I spend on magical push-up bras).

But there's nothing like pregnancy or breastfeeding to transform my mosquito bites into genuinely bodacious boobies (and to later leave them extra-saggy and raisin-like ... but I digress). These maternal mammaries are some of the few things I actually enjoy about my body, so you better believe that I take full advantage while I can, before they once again hang to my abdomen like oranges in tube socks. (Okay, so it's not quite that bad ... more like plums in ankle socks.)

I'm not busting out the fancy boob-enhancing lingerie or flaunting the girls in low-cut tops, though: it's the practical applications of cleavage that I most enjoy. If you've been reading me for a while, you'll probably remember this ...

(If you don't, go here to refresh your memory.)

It doesn't stop with butter, though. Boobs are the perfect medium for hiding things, carrying precious cargo, or serving as an extra hand (baby in one arm, box of wipes in the other? Just tuck a diaper into the cleavage, and voila!).

And today, I was once again reminded of just how functional they can be. Colin, in the midst of a hissy fit, threw one of his "stinky stinky balls" (again, if you're wondering what I'm talking about, check here). It landed on the kitchen counter, dangerously close to something breakable - so like any iron-fisted dictator mother would, I confiscated it. And where did it go? Between my boobs, natch. It fit so perfectly that Colin didn't even see it, and stormed angrily throughout the house looking in drawers and cabinets. Hahahahaha.

So you see? If you're lucky enough to have cleavage, boobs are good for more than just nicely filling out the front of a blouse. Change purse. Juice box holder. Lipstick tote. Butter warmer. Tissue dispenser (think about it! You'd never be stuck in a public restroom without toilet paper again!). The possibilities, my friends, are nearly infinite.

I sure will miss mine when they're gone. If anybody wants to contribute to a boob job fund, let me know and I'll post a donation box in the sidebar. :)

(By the way: there were sooooo many pervy titles I could have come up with for this blog. Boobs + balls? The possibilities are endless. But I decided to keep it tame. You're welcome.)

Stuff That's Ridiculous

In lieu of my usual witty, well-thought-out posts (haha, I made a joke!), today I'm bringing you a mashup of sorts. (Ironic, because "mashup" is one of my least favorite words. It reminds me of gloppy potatoes on a spoon.) Why the random hodgepodge (which reminds me of hedgehogs), you ask? It's because there are several things on my mind - and rather than devote a single post to any of them, I thought I'd include them all.

So, in no particular order, things I think are ridiculous:

#1 - Pants on the Ground. I don't watch American Idol - does that make me thoroughly unAmerican? Whether it does or it doesn't, I'd be hiding under a rock if I hadn't heard about the "Pants on the Ground" song. I just YouTubed it and it really is funny. This is something that I think is ridiculous in a good way. But unfortunately, it's the only one; the others are just things that irritate me. (Kinda like your mom. Oh snap!)

#2 - The "chicken dinner" scandal in Denver Public Schools. Have you heard about this one? You can read the full explanation here at the Denver Post, but in a nutshell: for Martin Luther King's birthday, Denver school menus were to feature a "Southern-style" lunch of fried chicken and greens. The proposed menu put parents in an uproar, saying it was an offensive cultural stereotype. Really? Last I checked, I was white - I'm talking a "hurt-your-eyes-when-the-sun-glares-off-me" shade of alabaster - and I could eat fried chicken & greens every day (with lots and lots of sweet tea!). MLK was born in Atlanta. He was a Southerner. Southern food was undoubtedly part of his heritage. Is serving fried chicken on his birthday any different than, say, serving corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day? I mean, if the lunch were the only nod to MLK on his b-day, I can see someone being upset. But I'm sure the individual classrooms had their own MLK-themed curriculum. It's lunch, people. Seriously. I can't even believe that there is nothing more significant to worry about than SCHOOL FOOD. Note to the offended parties: let's take the passion you're using to stir up controversy and direct it toward something more productive, mmkay?

#3 - Haiti. Don't even get me started on the Pat Robertson controversy. Ugh. As we know, Haiti - which is already the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere - was hit by a distastrous earthquake on Tuesday. More than 100,000 are feared dead; even more are homeless and without clean water, food, or medical care. These people need help, and they need it immediately.

As a computer junkie blogger, I'm well aware of the astounding power of social media. Facebook and MySpace statuses, Twitter tweets and re-tweets, and all things similar are amazing means of spreading the word. You can reach hundreds and thousands of people with a few keystrokes and one click of a mouse.

I saw plenty of buzz on Haiti, and how we can help, on Twitter yesterday. But I couldn't help but be bitterly disappointed at Facebook. I set my status to say the following (and even attached a link to the Red Cross page so people could see it wasn't a hoax):

Hey guys - want a painless and simple way to help fund disaster relief in Haiti? Donate $10 by texting HAITI to 90999; the money will be added to your phone bill and 100% will go to the Red Cross. As of right now, $1M has been raised by this method!

Alternatively, you can donate $5 in the same manner by texting YELE to... 501501 (via Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation). Please pass it on - these people need our help!  

Twice yesterday I set this as my status. TWICE. Even so, out of my 266 friends - y'all know who you are! - I didn't see a single Haiti reference, nor anyone passing along the info about how to help (except my husband ... thank you, Honey!). Yet just a couple of days ago, I bet 80 percent of my female friends had posted their bra color in their status. And I still love 'em, but I can't help being discouraged at the indifference.

Think about it, you guys. We're not frantically sifting through rubble to find our loved ones, our children. We're not walking by dead bodies in the street because emergency crews can't be everywhere at once. We're not homeless or hungry or desperate, and we haven't lost our most valued possessions. Our national landmarks, the symbols of our country, are still intact. WE ARE LUCKY. If you don't feel like the richest person on earth right now, then look at this.

I'm not climbing up on a soapbox and saying I've done more than most people; I won't be on the next plane to Haiti loaded down with emergency supplies. But you know what I did do? I donated to the Red Cross, and I encouraged everyone I could reach to do the same. There are 250 million people on Facebook, and out of that, at least 120 million log in daily. Now imagine if half of those daily users donated just ONE dollar to a relief fund - that's sixty MILLION dollars!

There's strength in numbers, people. Even if you can't donate money yourself, it costs nothing but a few seconds of your precious time to spread the word to people who can.

Okay, maybe I am on a soapbox. :) Stepping down ...

Doin' the Damn Thang

All right, I confess ... I can be a bit of a potty mouth. I suppose that doesn't say much for someone who uses words to make a living, but I can't help it. Cuss words just infiltrate my vocabulary, all stealthy-like. I do make an effort not to use profanity in front of the boys, but shit shoot, sometimes it just slips through my lips before I even know it's on my tongue.

A conversation I had over the weekend sparked me to try and recall whether my kids had ever cussed. Despite my occasional slipups, Colin and Cameron have been pretty good about not repeating bad words. In fact, the only thing I could think of was a scenario that happened once while I was baking a cake. After asking me if he could crack the eggs, stir the batter, and all that stuff - and getting met with "no" every time - Colin gave an exasperated sigh and said, "Well can I just lick the damn bowl then?"

But that was the only time I could recall either one of my kids cussing, in the entire history of their lives.

... Until yesterday.

I was sitting here at the computer and Colin was finishing the task of picking up toys. He thought he was done - but then he spotted a stray under my desk. "Damn it," he muttered, "I forgot something."

Then there was Cameron, later that same day. While we were eating supper, he dropped the last bite of his pickle out of his mouth. And in the most disappointed tone he could muster, he said, "Awww, damn it!"

Clearly we can deduce that "damn" is my most-frequently-uttered cuss word. All I can say is that I'm glad it's a lower-tier, PG-13 cuss word and not, like, the F-bomb or something.

Because if Cameron would have dropped his "effing" pickle? We would've had a problem.

Time Flies, Unless You're Watching Dora

Why is it that sometimes, sixty seconds can seem to last for-e-ver - and other times, the minutes pass in the blink of an eye?

You know how it is. Waiting for a kid to finish a sentence - especially when he's stalling at bedtime - can take eons: "Um, Mommy? Um. I need to, uh, tell you something important." (Pause, pause some more while he comes up with something, fidget. Add bonus time if you need to pee.) Sitting through two 30-minute episodes of Dora, or Lazy Town, or any other irritating kids' show? Torturous. Waiting in any boring office - the doctor, the dentist, the DMV - the clock practically stands still (especially when you're trying to keep kids from running amok in the meantime).

But when you're with your friends, like I was this past weekend? Time hurtles by faster than a four-year-old hopped up on cotton candy and caffeine. (And that's fast, y'all.) Betsy and Jenna were here all day Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday ... but I swear, I've changed diapers that took longer. We ate at a restaurant with no kids' menu, played a board game that wasn't Candyland, and talked about things that weren't child-related. Important things like, "Would you rather do Borat or David Hasselhoff?" and "OMG, Cher's daughter is a man now!" There were chocolate chip cookies. And apple pies (yes, pies plural). And pizza. I stayed up into the wee hours every night and woke up at the crack of dawn every morning, but was it worth it? Oh yes.

And then I blinked, and my girl-weekend was over like Jon Gosselin's popularity. And now it's back to Momday - I mean, Monday - and I'm once again elbow-deep in poopy diapers, dirty laundry, Play-Doh crumbs, and conflict negotiation.

But it was fun while it lasted. :)


Wild Weekend Shenanigans

Believe it or not, before I had kids I was actually - gasp! - a real person. Who wore pants without an elastic waist. Non-maternal-like. With interests. And a social life. I know, I know, it's hard to imagine ... but picture it if you can: RITA. Not, "Mommy!" or "Mom!" or "Hey, get me some chocolate milk!"

And though these days consist of more hot messes than hot dates, and more milk than martinis, I do have one holdover from my pre-Mommy days: my friends. And said friends are going to be at my place for the weekend. Fun times - and a reason for my son to actually wear pants!

*jazz hands!*

So I'll resume posting on Monday - provided I haven't died from happiness and excitement. Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!!!

One Gym Membership, Barely Used

So ... I have this gym membership. I pay like $40 bucks a month or some ridiculous amount. I guess $40 bucks a month isn't that ridiculous for a gym membership ... if you use it. But since I've gone twice in coughthreemonthscough, it's hardly worth the money.

The truth is, I hate being the gym newbie. This particular gym is a 24-hour place, where you get a little key-thingy and have to swipe it over the sensor to unlock the door. Only where other people effortlessly swipe and enter, I always swipe it with the key on the wrong side. Then re-swipe it in a place where the sensor doesn't pick it up. Then fumble and drop it while I'm trying to re-re-swipe. And all this time, the people on the machines - which face the door - are casting sideways glances at me and, in my mind at least, suppressing snickers.

Then I go in and inevitably do something stupid. Like climb on an elliptical machine in an "I do this all the time" manner and put my water bottle in a little hole that looks like it holds a water bottle, only my bottle falls right through. Or get on the treadmill with the high-tech computerized screen and then sit there for twenty minutes while I go through a sequence of pushing the wrong buttons. Or try to adjust the seat on a bike and think I have it latched, only to go sliding forcefully and embarrasingly backwards when I try to pedal.

Not to mention I have this habit of singing out loud to my iPod and not realizing it until, like, someone is looking at me all weird.

I know. If I went to the gym more often, I wouldn't be a newbie any more. But it's ever-so-much easier to stay home and work out with my trusty Wii Fit. Yeah, so it rudely groans "oooph!" when I step onto the balance board (that asshole), and my little Mii character looks like she ate the other Miis for breakfast - but at least I can be fat and uncoordinated in private.


A Word of Warning ...

Colin is in a sign-making phase lately. A couple of days ago he made one that said, "If you give me some chocolate milk then I will give you some Lysol for Christmas." (Hmm. Sounds like a fair trade.)

Yesterday, he felt it necessary to make the following sign for our bathroom. (His spelling and word order are a little rusty, but hey, he's four.)

Apparently our poor delicate toilet needs protection against Daddy's evil, monstrous dumps.

Good thing we've got this handy sign.


I was like fifteen years old and in one of those new-fangled "Yahoo chat rooms" (probably masquerading as a gay guy, as was my custom back then) the first time I saw the acronym "LOL." Only it was lowercase (lol), and in whatever font they used, it looked like "ioi" to me - so like the biggest chatroom dork evah, I asked what it meant.

Laughing out loud, I was told with a scorn that I could practically feel through the computer screen. Like duh.

These days, it's become so common that even my mom knows what "LOL" means (and she's from a time when people still named their kids Dick). But though it always means the same thing, there's not really a common usage. It's this huge gray area. I mean, is it punctuated? Capitalized? We'll use a text I sent Curtis as an example. The original, the way I typed it, said this:

That's my boy, LOL

But perhaps it should have been: That's my boy. LOL!

Or: That's my boy (lol) ... or That's my boy! lol ... or - well, you get the idea.

Sometimes I'm not sure whether to use LOL at all. Because I know there are people who are all, "The usage of acronyms is just lazy and stupid," while they adjust their glasses and flip to the next page of their Nietzsche novel or polish their globe or say words like sesquipedalian. So when I'm talking to such people, if I need to convey that something is funny, I just use the generic "ha ha."

Then there's the big question: should you use LOL if you are, in fact, not really "laughing out loud?"

(If you're interested, you can find a whole Wikipedia article on the use of LOL here. I tried to read it but it made my brain hurt about two paragraphs in.)

So tell me, y'all: do you use LOL? How? And are you genuinely LOL'ing (??) when you do?

PS - There's a very strange update to yesterday's "Sorta-Sacrilegious Sunday" post! Check it out ... LOL!


Sorta-Sacrilegious Sunday

It's Sunday morning - at least it is in my little corner of the blogosphere. And as you guys know, I usually either a.) don't post on Sundays or b.) post "Stuff I Like" Sunday (the link is to one of my personal favorites). But today I was browsing through my old MySpace blog and found something totally perfect for a Sunday post (or totally inappropriate, depending on how you look at it). Don't you fear for my salvation - I love me some Jesus - but this was too funny. Hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I did.

Who needs miracles ... when you've got the powah of the prayer rug?

I got the most fantastic surprise in Saturday's mail. Among the sale flyers and pizza coupons was a letter simply addressed to "Resident." Usually such things get immediately acquainted with my trash can - but I'm so glad I opened this one, because within that envelope was a wealth of blog-able goodness.

The letter began, "Dear ... Someone Connected with This Address" (oh my Lord, that's me!) and dated "Sunday, January 2008." It was sent from a congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma: Saint Matthew's 57-year-old Church. (They kept including the "57-year-old" part, as if this factoid lends some sort of credibility.) And in big blue letters, virtually shouting from the page, it said, "GOD'S HOLY BLESSING OF POWER IS IN THE ENCLOSED ANOINTED PRAYER RUG OF FAITH WE ARE LOANING YOU TO USE!"

My first thought was, "How the hell did they fit a rug into this little-ass envelope?" But then I discovered the "rug" in question. And here it is:

The big, purple, disembodied head of Christ (with a stunning patterned border!). Made out of paper, because paper is obviously the smartest choice of rug-making materials, y'all - it's totally stain proof  durable  soft and fluffy  easy to fold up into a tiny envelope.

Printed upon the back of said "rug" was the following message (and though I'd love to, I can't take credit for the Creative Capitalization - that's all them):

This St. Matthew 18:19 Bible Prayer Rug is Soaked with the Power of Prayer for you. Use it immediately, then please return it with your Prayer Needs Checked on our letter to you. It must be mailed to a second home that needs a blessing after you use it. Prayer works. Expect God's blessing.

The letter instructed me to kneel on the rug, or just spread it over my knees, within the next 24 hours and pray. Then I was to place the rug in a Bible on Philippians 4:19 ("But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus"), and the next day, mail it back to the church in the postage-paid envelope - along with a prayer request, or a "seed gift to God's work" - a.k.a. a fat donation.

To confirm the miraculous nature of this purple paper Savior, there was a page of testimonials. For example, one "Sister" (parishioner? Nun? Black woman?) used the prayer rug and was blessed with $46,000!

Alas, I did not take advantage of the divine blessings offered to me. My 24-hour window is up, so I guess I'll just have to live without the spiritual bounty that the rug could have bestowed.

I hope the Lord doesn't think any less of me.

SUPER-SPECIAL UPDATE: Last night I got the following in an e-mail from my brother (who is almost - almost - as awesome as me) ...

"OMG! (or should I say OMJ!) I just read your blog about the prayer rug. I got one in the mail TODAY!"

It's eerie, no? That my brother would receive a prayer rug on the very same day that I blogged about it? Uncanny! As proof, he sent me a picture:

Coincidence, or psychic phenomenon?
I think I'm going to hell.

Stinky Stinky Balls

My sons have stinky stinky balls. Stinky stinky blue balls, if you want to get technical.

No, it's not what it sounds like - they do get bathed regularly, testicular areas included, and they're not old enough to have developed that, erm, special kind of odor anyway. When Colin and Cameron refer to their "stinky stinky balls," they're referring to the kind of rubber racquetballs that come in three-packs like this:

And these balls are indeed pretty foul. It's like somebody took all the disgusting burnt-rubber smell of a tire shop, made it super-concentrated, and stuffed the stench into a little plastic cannister. Gross. But the kids love them for some reason, even wanting to sleep with them like most kids would sleep with, say, a teddy bear.

What can I say? My kids are weird. They certainly don't get that from me, right?

... RIGHT?!?

*cricket, cricket*

Anyway, yesterday at the store Curtis gave them five bucks each and told them they could pick whatever they wanted. Colin immediately headed down the Crayola aisle, so while he and Curtis did that, I headed on down to the shampoo aisle so I could browse the selection in relative peace. As I was weighing my options, I heard Colin in all his four-year-old loudness chanting - from practically across the store - "STINKY STINKY BALLS! STINKY STINKY BALLS! STINKY STINKY BALLS!" And customarily, his little brother was echoing him like a mockingbird.

Yeah. He'd decided that he was going to use his five dollars on a new package of racquetballs. But did the rest of the shoppers know that? Of course not. So I'm sure everybody thought that he and Cameron were these horribly rude kids shrieking about their malodorous sacks.

... Especially anyone who also happened to overhear Colin announce that the rubber plungers "smell like penis."


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